2012 Louis Eden Valley Semillon

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Cockle Pasta with Tarragon
Pale yellow with green hues. Sweet, fragrant aromas of citrus and clover blossom, citrus zest, lemon, stone-fruits and granny smith apples. The palate is vibrant and juicy with lime zest, melon and white nectarine flavours; beautiful complexity and layers of flavour and texture, with crisp acidity and a long finish.

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2012 Louis Eden Valley Semillon

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The La Niña pattern weakened during the lead-up to the 2012 vintage, resulting in below average winter and spring rainfall. July was the driest since the serious drought of 2003. Spring was mild with few frost events; however, flowering and fruit set were affected by wet drizzly weather in mid to late November, leading to only average yields. Summer was also surprisingly mild with below average temperatures from southerlies off the ocean in January and only two short heat events, at New Year and at the end of February. This provided for slow ripening which allowed for intense fruit flavours, high colour figures, high acidity and mature tannins. Rainfall leading up to vintage was above average, with the heaviest rainfall events in late January and late February, which tied in well with the natural physiology of the dry-grown vines; ie, keeping leaves active at veraison and ripening. Temperatures were mild during harvest through March, warming to an Indian summer in April, allowing for a long window of picking and amazing maturities with the red varieties. Standout varieties were riesling, showing delightful aromatics, purity, intensity, excellent acidity and length of flavour; and shiraz, showing great purity and spice, colour, intensity and strikingly mature tannins. Yields were average with exceptional overall quality.

In the Bottle

Vintage 2012
Grape Variety 100% semillon grown in Eden Valley.
Technical Details Harvest Date: 27 February-7 March Alcohol: 11.5% | pH: 3.07 | Acidity: 6.6 g/L |
Maturation 7% aged on lees for 10 months in seasoned 225L French barriques. Remainder aged in tank to preserve the delicate fruit flavours.
Background A tribute to Louis Edmund Henschke (1919-1990), the fourth-generation grower of the Hill of Grace vineyard. His expertise as a vigneron has resulted in a legacy in the form of the famous vineyard being maintained using long-term organic principles. The semillon is a reserve selection from 50-year-old vines, grown in the Henschke vineyard at Eden Valley.
Cellaring Potential Exceptional vintage, 15+ years (from vintage).

Vintage 2013. 9 April 2014, Tony Love, Adelaide Advertiser

It’s rare to see youthful semillon with such fragrance, but that’s the Eden Valley impact to start. On top of cut apples and grassy herbs, Stephen Henschke calls it “clover blossom”, while the flavour spectrum introduces white stone fruits and further savoury and spicy layers, possibly springing from a portion of oak maturation. Importantly it is most lifted and joyous to sip over light dinners.

Vintage 2012. 23 September 2013, www.winemuse.com.au

From the Eden Valley. There is plenty of lemon citrus and stonefruit with a hint of savouriness. Texturely, there is some silk and acid is softer though still prominent. Henschke has been working on their winemaking and oak regime to get a better blend of phenolics to the palate. This is apparent in the way the wine shapes the mouth along its tangy length while remaining fresh.

Vintage 2009. 29 February 2012, Brisbane Times.

‘As a kid pottering around shearing sheds in the far north west in 1987, I had no idea Henschke was making a Semillon that would be an extraordinary drink 25 years later, but they did, and I shared a bottle of that wine recently. If the 2009 version simply doesn’t have the same complexity and thrall, it is simply because it needs a few more decades.’


Vintage 2009. 22 September 2010, Chris Shanahan, Canberra Times.

‘Like the Hunter style, it's tank fermented, never goes near oak and is bottled early to preserve the fruit flavour. However, it's slightly fuller than the Hunter style, with the distinct aroma and flavour of warm grown semillon somewhere between lemongrass and wet hessian. Don't be put off by the latter, though, as there's a zesty, tart, lemony tang, setting Louis apart from other wines. Would be terrific with delicate fish.’


Vintage 2008. 26 September 2011, Andrew Graham, Oz Wine Review.

‘Green, grassy, fresh style with simple lean melon fruit and just a whisper of oak/lees complexity. It's maturing rather well, putting on a little extra weight through the middle now which only adds to the attraction. A pleasant, simple white with a spoonful of style.


Vintage 2008. 3 March 2010, Fergus McGhie, Canberra Times.

‘The '08 Louis is delicious and should be on more wine lovers' shopping lists. Lean and citrus flavoured, there's guava and green jubey fruit too. The palate is long and crisp, so it's either a drink-now proposition or a potential cracker from the cellar in a few years time’.

Vintage 2008. 23 December 2009, Chris Plummer, Australian Wine Journal.

‘A little shy on the nose initially, the 2008 Louis opens to reveal a herbal presence of gooseberry and melon fruits with grilled nut overtones. Rather languid and rich yet fluid, its mineral infused palate announces clean and clear lemon citrus flavours, which evolve in a more savoury fashion with lingering notes of herb and a defining smoky aspect, before being punctuated beautifully by delightfully taut and regional, chalky acids.


Vintage 2007. October 2008, Josh Raynolds, Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar.

‘Light, bright gold. Varietally accurate aromas of dried orchard fruit, beeswax, nuts and white flowers. Dry and focused, offering deep lemon rind and dried pear flavors and a suave mineral undercurrent. Becomes sweeter and juicier on the finish, which leaves sappy pear nectar and toasted nut qualities behind. This will be really flexible at the table.’


Vintage 2006. 2009, James Halliday, James Halliday’s Wine Companion.

‘A very attractive mix of grass, lemon juice and spice; a long minerally finish; very good balance and line’.


Vintage 2006. 12 August 2007, Sun Herald.

‘This Eden Valley semillon has wonderful fruit purity: green apples backed with mineral notes that track through the palate. It is fresh and vibrant and will cellar for 10 years.’


Vintage 2006. 25 June 2007, Winewise.

‘The fruit is clean and pure, with lemony hints, and the flavour is generous, supported by good acidity. SA semillon doesn’t come much better than this.’


Vintage 2006. 24 June 2007, Peter Forrestal, Sunday Telegraph.

‘Exceptional wine with fresh, crisp and intense lemon flavours brought to a peak by talented Stephen Henschke. Viticulturalist wife Prue deserves credit as well.’

Vintage 2005. August 2007, James Halliday, Australian Wine Companion

Abundant flavour and richness. Rating 88/100.

Vintage 2005. 31 October 2006, Robert Parker, Wine Advocate

...thai lemon grass, herbal essences and oily, waxy characteristics are featured in this broad, concentrated white. This dry white may keep for many years...

Vintage 2005. 1 April 2006, Winewise

One of the best young South Australian semillons I've ever tasted. The aromas and flavours verge on tropical fruit but don't quite go that far. The result is satisfying flavour without heaviness. Likewise, there's an almost subliminal sweetness that is balanced perfectly by zippy acidity. Here's a delicious, versatile wine that is hard to resist, yet will probably reward a few years' cellaring.

Vintage 2005. 2 February 2006, Tony Harper, Courier Mail.

‘What a beautiful wine. ...it was a delight - grassy, fresh and seriously intense. It is a wine for the cellar, 10 years should be no problem, but it is delicious right now.’


Vintage 2004. 2006, Independent Magazine

‘In the hands of the Henschke family from the cool Eden Valley, this is a classy, fragrant number, full of gooseberryish fruitiness and subtly rounded out with a touch of oak, making for a restrained Graves-style whose citrus-zesty, bone dry liveliness cries out for grilled fish and white meats.’


Vintage 2004. 1 November 2005, Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate

‘The 2004 Louis reveals waxy citrus, candied lemon, and honey characteristics in a straightforward, elegant format. With aeration, a hint of figs also emerged.’


Vintage 2003. 1 August 2006, James Halliday, Australian Wine Companion 2006

‘Flavoursome, soft and rounded, quite creamy, early developing style.’


Vintage 2003. 26 May 2006, Tim White, Australian Financial Review

‘Full in texture, clean in its wheat and lemon flavour, this wine hints at the complexity it should develop with age. It's soft as fresh cream...’